In June, Ford Motor Co. invited the heads of some of the nation’s largest police fleets to Michigan to talk about the future of police cars. For nearly two decades, that market has belonged to Ford’s Crown Victoria — a vehicle that departments from coast to coast have come to respect for its toughness and reliability. Now the Crown Vic is running out of road, reports the Detroit News. “They told us that 2011 would be the last year they build the Crown Vic,” said Larry Tagawa of the Los Angeles Police Department. “But Ford also made a commitment to support departments with a new vehicle.”
There is new competition — not only from Ford’s cross-town rivals, but also from a new start-up that promises to give police the vehicle of their dreams — and the Canadian Auto Workers, which is keen to protect thousands of jobs at the plant in St. Thomas, Ontario, where the Crown Vic is produced. Ever since General Motors Co. stopped production of the Crown Vic’s main competitor — the Chevrolet Caprice — in 1996, the Crown Vic has been America’s police car. It was crushed by the falling rubble of the World Trade Center and transported Paris Hilton to prison. About 85 percent of the approximately 75,000 police cars sold in the U.S. each year are Crown Vics.